Opinion on Höfner Basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wooftag, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. Yes

    78 vote(s)
  2. No

    57 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Wooftag


    Dec 31, 2020
    I was thinking of buying a Hofner Violin bass because of that unique sound. but I was wondering if there were any major disadvantages or advantages in buying one. and I also just wanted to know anybody else's opinion on if they are good or not
  2. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug

    As everyone should know by know, the major issue, shared by almost all violin basses, is neck dive.

    The flip side is, everyone needs a violin bass in their collection. This includes you. Höfner is not the only manufacturer. For example, Harley Benton makes a nice one at a friendly price.
    eJake, MAJOR METAL, booch29 and 4 others like this.
  3. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I think the violin shape is uncomfortable to play. The Club bass sounds exactly the same but is more comfortable. The string spacing is too close on both for me.
    bassdude51, nattiep, eJake and 13 others like this.
  4. A9X

    A9X Inactive

    Dec 27, 2003
    Nope. Horrible little things.
  5. ch willie

    ch willie

    Sep 2, 2012
    I had a Hofner HCT violin, and it was a serious instrument, not the toy I'd expected. Eventually, I got a German Hofner--a completely different animal. Mine has zero neck dive and is verrrrrry light. It sounds more like a standup bass to my ears. Both are great instruments, though I'd say the HCT is more versatile and might be better suited for today's pop / rock music.
  6. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Fresno California
    I would never in a million years own one. They play and sound like garbage. But hey, if you like em? Go for it.
  7. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    I have an Ignition series with flat wound strings. It has got a warm, tubby sound which sits well with some music and it's light and easy to play. Not for everyone I know however for me at those intimate little gigs where I need a thick, supportive sound at low volume it's hard to beat. Yes they are neck heavy but you get around that easy enough.

    You didn't mention what type of music you play, if it fits it's great and if it doesn't then you need to make a decision on whether it's going to be useful to you.
  8. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Life is short, buy the bass. Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Hofners are wonderful basses and have thier own unique voice. I think if you want one why not? A great addition to any collection.
    Ultradust, Danny C, ac100X and 3 others like this.
  9. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The German Hofners are very nice, but insanely overpriced. My son and I A/B’d the lower priced (ignition?) series against a Jay Turser Beatle Bass, and the Turser sounded and played almost identically for half the price, so we bought it. The fit and finish were actually better on the Turser, but they cheap out on the electronics. I put in good CTS pots and a switchcraft jack, and Bob’s Your Uncle. They are indeed notorious neck divers, but so light you can easily “clamp” them with your forearm. Not the worlds most versatile bass, but they do that woody Macca thump with flats best, and are a lot of fun to play. I could see myself selling everything else and getting a Hofner clone as a couch noodler in my Dotage. They are loud enough unplugged today hear and feel easily in a quiet room. The control setup is odd, but it works.
    75Ric, roswell1965, dkelley and 3 others like this.
  10. MBeanBass


    Aug 25, 2020
    North of Boston
    I have a mid-60's, probably around '67. I love to play it. Producers request it for sessions because they love the sound of it. I have tapewounds on it, used to have flats on it. I used to play in a jazz piano trio, the pianist would request that I play it because of its warm, woody sound. It'll only make your life better.
    marchone, Babydave, Danny C and 2 others like this.
  11. WoodyJ


    Jul 29, 2008
    Atlanta GA suburb
    I may be the only musician on the planet who never was or will be a Beatles fan....Therefore, zero interest in a Hofner.

    It took me long enough to get used to my Rickenbacker after playing Fenders since the '70's.:woot:
    teh-slb and jamro217 like this.
  12. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Uncomfortable to play.
    Neck or string spacing is a big turnoff.
    Also, they feel...insubstantial. I have a feeling I'll play too hard and eventually destroy one.
    As for tone, I'm big on tone and I'm willing to bet the tone isn't unique.
  13. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The illusion of fragility seems to be pretty common, but it’s not a huge concern unless you really beat on it, in which case any bass will suffer some damage. I have smallish hands, so the tighter string spacing and pencil neck feel good, but it’s not a bass for the bear-pawed contingent. The neck dive issue doesn’t come into play at all on a strap, they are so light that even a moderately grippy leather strap will hold it wherever you put it. The Epiphone Viola is another option, but it’s a much heavier bass, really a semi-hollow. The intonation above the 12th fret is a little “iffy” on all the violin basses with a floating wood bridge. You can intonate the E and G, but A and D will always be close approximations. Once you get it intonated, you can put tiny pencil marks in the 4 corners around the bridge when you change strings.
  14. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I agree that the violin shape can sometimes be uncomfortable to play. I actually enjoy the tight string spacing, though :)
    mankybass, jamro217 and Dabndug like this.
  15. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Essentially no sustain. Ergonomically poor. They’re light, so there’s one good thing. They don’t have much in the way of what I like in a bass - I can’t see myself ever buying one. But for some folks, they’re just the ticket. I think a world where we all like the same things would be boring.
    mankybass, eJake, Babydave and 2 others like this.
  16. DrColossus68


    Mar 3, 2016
    I have nothing to add to this conversation but just wanted to say that I like your avatar and I hope silk song comes out soon.
  17. Bass4ThePublic

    Bass4ThePublic Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    Kansas City
    Some major disadvantages from a person who briefly owned one: Hard to intonate, kind of awkward to play, ultra tight string spacing, flimsy feeling, bridge isn't ideal.

    Pros: Very light, thumpy, looks cool.

    Only way if you can tell if it's for you is to play one. Welcome to TB!
    tito0515, 4 Strings Good and jamro217 like this.
  18. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I like Hofners, I have the Hofner Ignition Violin, Ignition Club (my most used bass for several years), HCT Galaxie SS and HCT President.

    One issue I've had with the President is feedback at very high volumes due to the huge hollow body but installing a couple of balloons blown up in the body to block the F holes prevents the feedback. Another issue was the controls on my most used Club bass developed some intermittency so I changed them to VVT as a personal preference. The controls on the others work fine.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
    champbassist, mikewalker and Dabndug like this.
  19. Matt R.

    Matt R. Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Yes. Killer instruments. Not the most versatile, but they play and sound amazing. Also, I’ve never had a problem with neck dive.
    I’ve owned a lot of them but the Cavern bass is my favorite so far. A lot more in the way of useable sounds with that pickup config in my opinion
    Splash7 and Dabndug like this.
  20. Hi and welcome to TalkBass! I'm sure you're realizing by now that you're going to get a lot of opinions here based on the experience of the members but the only member's opinion that matters here is yours. You say you want one for the "unique sound." That's a good reason for buying any bass. Most short-scale hollow body basses will deliver something like the sound you are going for, and Hofners are a good instrument for that goal. You may want to consider their budget line (the Ignition series) first to see what you think. They are inexpensive, especially if you can get one used, and will give you that sound without taking much risk on a purchasing a more expensive CT or German model.
    4 Strings Good, Splash7 and Nunovsky like this.